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2021 NFL Draft goes live via TVU Networks’ solutions

TVU Networks has been selected for the cloud-based video distribution of 2021 National Football League (NFL) Draft, the annual meeting of NFL franchises to select eligible players for the 2021 NFL season. All 32 NFL teams used the TVU Anywhere remote production app and TVU Grid, a cloud-based video distribution network, for the footage of the Draft rooms during the three-day draft.

TVU Anywhere is designed to enable smart devices to transmit HD video for live streaming. It features TVU’s Inverse StatMux Plus (IS+) technology, which aggregates cellular with WiFi connections to provide video transmission. TVU GridLink allows for the previewing of live video feeds, and is embedded with metadata to help facilitate content search. 

Additionally, TVU was tasked with supporting the live video feeds of 50 off-site player prospects for the broadcast production. 

Prospects who chose not to attend the draft in-person were sent camera kits, which includes a webcam, lighting, and a Mac mini preloaded with TVU Anywhere. The camera feeds were sent to a bank of TVU Servers in Cleveland, which provided up to 50 SDI outputs for use during the live broadcasts. The servers were also networked through TVU Grid, allowing operators to monitor all live video feeds online and on mobile devices, using TVU GridLink. 

A separate bank of 17 TVU Servers, which provides 34 SDI outputs, was assigned to manage behind-the-scenes video feeds from all 32 teams. The feeds provided live footage of team personnel as they reacted to draft picks and conducted business during the draft. In contrast to the camera kits for the prospects, each club was shipped an iPhone preloaded with TVU Anywhere that was positioned to provide coverage of the Draft room. All club feeds were also Grid-enabled, plus a secure reliable transport (SRT) streaming output was provided for off-site monitoring and review.  

The NFL leveraged the versatility of the TVU Server ecosystems in a number of ways. For instance, TVU GridLink enabled remote monitoring of all the team Draft rooms for critical sponsor alignment via built-in access restrictions and secure sharing protocols. Furthermore, they created an archive of all the content using TVU Search, an automated, artificial intelligence (AI)-based solution. And in addition to the search functionality, TVU Search also enables the content to be clipped and downloaded in real time, as the content is being captured. 

This year’s draft was held in Cleveland, Ohio, from April 29 to May 1; and Van Wagner Sports and Entertainment was tasked to manage all aspects of the video production. 

Nate McCoart, director of technical operations at Van Wagner Sports and Entertainment, concluded: “TVU’s solutions worked very well for us during the NFL Draft. They made it easy to manage live video from dozens of locations across the country for the broadcast, and they were able to manage secure Draft room feeds for both our production and NFL officials.”

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